Mathieu van der Poel: Cyclist pleads guilty to assaulting teenagers in Sydney
Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel has pleaded guilty to assaulting two teenage girls in Sydney, Australia, the night before the men’s World Championship road race.
The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider was charged with two counts of common assault and fined 1,500 Australian dollars (£909) after a confrontation with the girls, aged 13 and 14.
His lawyer said he will appeal against the conviction but has been allowed to leave Australia after being handed back his passport.
Van der Poel, 27, alleged the teenagers “continuously” knocked on his hotel room door on Saturday night.
“After a few times I was done with it,” he told Belgian website Sporza. “I didn’t ask so nicely to stop. Then the police were called and I was taken.”
New South Wales Police said one teenager fell to the ground while the other was pushed into a wall, causing a minor graze to her elbow.
“We went through the relevant events that occurred, he was arrested by police, was interviewed by police and said certain things to the police,” Van der Poel’s lawyer Michael Bowe told Reuters.
“Mathieu agreed with some of those allegations. On discussing it was agreed he should plead guilty.”
Alpecin-Deceuninck said it would be speaking to the rider and the Dutch national team he was representing in Australia “to get a clear picture of the course of events”.
“Based on this, we will determine which further steps to take,” it added.
A Tour de France stage winner and two-time Tour of Flanders champion, Van der Poel was among the favourites to win Sunday’s race in Wollongong, but dropped out just 30km into the 270km route.
The race was won by Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel.